ExxonMobil to pay $1.4 million after 2012 crude pipeline spill

ExxonMobil Corp. has agreed to pay $1.4 million to settle federal claims arising from a 2012 crude oil pipeline spill in Louisiana.

A pipe in ExxonMobil’s North Line ruptured in April 2012 near Torbert, about 20 miles west of Baton Rouge, La., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Justice said Tuesday. The pipeline belongs to ExxonMobil Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of the oil giant.

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Federal officials said some oil entered waterways as a result of the 2,800-barrel spill, violating federal water pollution rules.

“All businesses have an obligation to protect their workers, the local community and the environment in which they operate,” Cynthia Giles, who leads EPA’s enforcement efforts, said in a statement. “EPA is committed to protecting communities by enforcing laws that reduce pollution in local waterways.”

“Oil spills into our nation’s waters endanger public health and the environment and warrant concerted enforcement efforts,” Sam Hirsch, chief of Justice’s environmental division, said in the statement. “Today’s settlement achieves a just result and furthers our enforcement mission.”

The settlement came in the form of a consent decree filed Tuesday in federal court along with the underlying complaint. It is subject to a public comment period and court approval.

ExxonMobil confirmed in a statement that it entered into the settlement.

“We believe that this settlement provides for an acceptable outcome that avoids protracted litigation between the parties,” said spokesman Christian Flathman. “Safety is always our priority, and we are committed to operating in a safe and responsible manner.”

Flathman did not say whether or not ExxonMobil admitted to the federal government’s allegations.

In addition to the penalty, federal officials said ExxonMobil was responsible for the costs related to cleaning the spill and pipeline repair to federal standards.